Sarah Hadley

Hidden Lives
archival digital photograph

Modern Hieroglyphics: I began this project several years ago while living in New York. It was during a very chaotic time in my life and I became fascinated by the graffiti on the subway windows and started shooting through them. The scratches left on the windows spoke to this turmoil I was feeling and the fractured view through them reflected my emotions at the time. I continued the project even after I moved back to Chicago, but the photographs took on a more abstract, lyrical tone and I began shooting through all sorts of things – rain, dirt and broken glass.

All of my work revolves around city life—the excitement, beauty and solitude I see and feel while living amidst a great confluence of people. I seek to straddle the line between realism and abstraction in my photographs and am endlessly fascinated by what we see, but do not see. Though these photographs are in many ways documentary because I don’t manipulate the scenes, my work has taken on a painterly almost surreal quality which I believe mirrors the half-truths of our memory.


© Sarah Hadley